WASHINGTON — Economic headwinds continued to take a toll on textile and apparel imports, driving shipments down in December and for the year.
Textile and apparel shipments to the U.S. declined 7.9 percent in December to 3.5 billion square meter equivalents compared with the year earlier, the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles & Apparel said Wednesday. Apparel and textile shipments to the U.S. were down 5.2 percent to 50.4 billion SME in 2008 compared with the previous year.
Declining import levels in December were expected given the drop in consumer demand at retail, said Charles McMillion, president and chief economist at MBG Information Services.
“This is a reflection of falling sales,” McMillion said. “Everybody has huge inventories.”
The top five apparel importers in December were China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Honduras and Indonesia. China also topped the list of high-volume textile importers, followed by Pakistan, India, Mexico and South Korea.
Imports from China slid 8.8 percent to 1.4 billion SME compared with December 2007. The drop was fueled by a steep 15.9 percent decline in textile shipments to 844 million SME. Apparel imports from China to the U.S. increased 5.9 percent in December to 519 million SME.
Shipments of textiles and apparel from Canada fell 30.6 percent to 80 million SME. Imports from Mexico dropped 16.1 percent to 173 million SME, and shipments from Indonesia fell 11.3 percent to 113 million SME.
Vietnam continued to grow its share of textiles and apparel imports, increasing shipments by 19.2 percent to 154 million SME. Bangladesh increased shipments 18.9 percent to 129 million SME, while India’s imports were up 7.4 percent to 201 million SME.
For the year, combined textile and apparel imports from China fell 3.6 percent to 20.6 billion SME, after sliding 0.7 percent in 2007. Apparel shipments from China declined 3.1 percent from a year earlier to 7.8 billion SME, and textile imports dropped 4 percent to 12.8 billion SME.
Canada’s shipments declined 29.1 percent to 1.4 billion SME. Apparel and textile imports from Mexico fell 13.3 percent to 2.6 billion SME, and shipments from South Korea dropped 14.2 percent to 1.7 billion SME.
The volume of apparel and textile shipments from Vietnam increased 20.6 percent in 2008 to 1.8 billion SME. Imports from Honduras increased 9.4 percent to 1.4 billion SME. Shipments from India increased 4.3 percent to 2.8 billion SME for 2008.
The overall trade gap narrowed to $39.9 billion in December from a revised $41.6 billion in November.
The volume of world trade is “plunging,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. Export and import volumes declined in December.
“The clear message is that global trade activity has collapsed, as the world economy sinks deeper into recession,” Gault said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast